Magnetic Field and Reflection Study of Multipole Plasma Trap Using Particle-In-Cell Simulations

SPACE TECHNOLOGY

Zoey Bigelow

This project will examine the effects of a magnetic field on the particles in a multipole plasma trap (MPT) as well as the reflective behaviors of these particles. An MPT works by applying an alternating voltage to a set of electrodes, then pumping particles into the space between the electrodes. The alternating voltage creates electric fields (referred to as radio-frequency (RF) fields), which trap the particles in the low field region at the center, creating a plasma trap. The use of the particle-in-cell (PIC) software, VSim 10.1, developed by the TechX Corporation enables simulation of an MPT and makes it possible to examine the effects of many different variables to subsequently be implemented on a physical MPT. This ability to examine the behavior of plasma under a variety of circumstances deepens a basic understanding of plasma physics, which moves us forward in the goal to make fusion energy a reality, as well as advance the development of other RF field technology. The computational nature of this fully simulation-based project is fully compatible with remote work, making it ideal for the current status of our community amidst the pandemic.

Profile

Name: Zoey Bigelow, Undergraduate Student

Institution: University of Alaska Anchorage

Major: Electrical Engineering

Mentor: Nathaniel Hicks, nkhicks@alaska.edu

Award: Summer Apprenticeship

Funding Period: 2021